116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
AMES — It’s a top-10 matchup. It’s a hot ticket. And it’s as intense an environment one can face before the month of March.
Welcome to the 2022 edition of the Cy-Hawk Series dual between No. 7 Iowa State and No. 2 Iowa, which will feature as many cuts, bumps and bruises as twists and turns beginning at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City.
“Both fan bases are very passionate,” said the Cyclones’ third-ranked 165-pounder and 2021 NCAA champ David Carr. “(There’s) a lot of yelling. It’s awesome.
“As a wrestler you want that type of environment where it’s loud and both teams want to win bad. I think that’s when wrestling’s the most fun.”
ISU (5-0) hasn’t beaten the Hawkeyes (5-0) since 2004, but carries the second-longest dual meet win streak (18) in the country into what’s likely to be a highly-competitive match.
“This bunch ain’t afraid of anything,” ISU head coach Kevin Dresser said of his team. “They’re not afraid of anything.”
Eight of the Cyclones’ 10 probable starters are ranked among the Top 25 according to InterMat. The same goes for Iowa, which has had a fluid lineup all season because of injuries.
“I’m sure there’s some gaming going on right there,” said Dresser, who won a national championship as a Hawkeye wrestler in 1986. “It’s hard to say who's gonna show up and that's just kind of how they roll. … Anybody that's reading the probables and is staying up at night, trying to figure it out, go to bed because it's not going to come true.”
Two of the many intriguing potential matchups are at 141 and 149 pounds.
At 141, the Cyclones’ 12th-ranked freshman Casey Swiderski could take on No. 2 Real Woods or Drew Bennett.
At 149, ISU freshman Paniro Johnson is poised to grapple with Max Murin in a top-eight matchup.
Swiderski and Johnson are 4-0 — and bristling with confidence that belies their youth.
“They’re ready,” Carr said with a smile. “They train hard. They’re savages. So I’m excited to let that savage out at Carver-Hawkeye. I think they’re very mature for how young they are and they’re ready for the battle, for sure.”
So is former Ames High wrestler Marcus Coleman, who will compete in this dual for the last time. Coleman — a senior and 2022 All-American — is ranked fifth at 184 pounds and will likely take on No. 8 Abe Assad.
“If you look at our roster, I think it’s just gotten progressively better,” Coleman said. “We’ve got some real professionals on the team, so I think we’re in a really good spot to get the win this weekend.”
The Cyclones felt similarly last season, but lost, 22-11, as tempers flared at the end.
So it’s all aboard the emotional roller coaster, because it’s likely hotter heads, not cooler ones, will prevail when the in-state rivals clash on the mat.
“We’ll see what happens,” Dresser said. “We know what we’re getting into. It’s not our first rodeo there.”